FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Powered by the strength of a four-run sixth inning and bolstered by three defensive miscues from the Lake County Captains, the Fort Wayne Tincaps worked their way to a 9-3 victory on Friday night at Parkview Field.
Fort Wayne was led by Jace Peterson and Donavan Tate, who combined to go six for nine and knock in four of the team's nine runs. Peterson went three for five, with a double and an RBI after knocking in two runs in the season opener on Thursday. Tate, who played in just six games for the TinCaps in 2011 before suffering an injury, contributed by going three for four and batting in three runs.
For the second straight night, Lake County (1-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first inning. TinCaps starter Adys Portillo (ND) saw Lake County's Francisco Lindor reach on an error by second baseman Justin Miller, and after a walk to Alex Monsalve, Jordan Smith grounded out, allowing Lindor to score.
In the third, it would be Lake County that was plagued by an error. Fort Wayne's Austin Hedges reached on a fielding error by Captains third baseman Leonard Castillo. Hedges moved to second on a wild pitch by Lake County started Elvis Araujo (0-1), and was knocked in by Alberth Martinez. Two batters later, Tate collected his first RBI on a single to score Martinez and give Fort Wayne (1-1) a 2-1 advantage.
Both starting pitchers went just four innings on Friday night. Portillo did not allow a hit or an earned run. The run that scored in the first was unearned because of the error on Miller. The Venezuelan native struck out four and walked three. Lake County's Araujo allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits, while striking out seven and walking one.
With the game turned over to the bullpens, Fort Wayne's offense took advantage in the middle innings. Jace Peterson led off the fifth with a double, and scored as Zach Kometani grounded into a double play. It was the sixth inning, leading 3-2 and facing both Lake County's Cole Cook and Shawn Armstrong, where the TinCaps had the night's biggest inning. With one out, Justin Miller singled, and he was followed by Austin Hedges who hit a ground rule double down the left field line. Alberth Martinez then walked, and Jace Peterson followed with a single to plate Miller. A two-run single by Donavan Tate and a sacrifice fly from Casey McElroy added three more runs to extend the advantage to 7-2.
Robert Eisenbach worked the seventh for the TinCaps and allowed one unearned run, which made the score 7-3 in favor of Fort Wayne. In the eighth inning, the TinCaps sent eight batters to the plate and scored two runs. Jace Peterson scored from third on a wild pitch, and Donavan Tate scored when Justin Miller was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Fort Wayne's Matt Stites, making his first appearance of the season, retired Lake County in order in the ninth, striking out two batters in the process. TinCaps reliever John Barbato picked up his first win in relief. The Miami native tossed two innings, allowing one unearned run and striking out five.
The TinCaps and the Captains play the rubber game of the three-game set on Saturday evening at Parkview Field. Fort Wayne right-hander Joe Ross, an 18-year-old first round pick last June, will make his TinCaps debut. He's scheduled to be opposed by righty Will Roberts for Lake County. First pitch is set for 5:05.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.